Muslim Student Association Offers Community and Education

Jeremy Andrew, contributor

Muslim students at a Lutheran school like Augsburg often struggle to find resources for navigating their identity and having positive experiences. For these students, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) can be a beacon, bringing together a community of peers who share their values and are looking for an opportunity to learn about Islam. Other students come to Augsburg without any knowledge of Islam, and the MSA strives to create environments where students can be exposed to Islam and converse with their Muslim peers. 

The MSA holds board meetings where students can give feedback and ideas for improvement. Their general meetings run the gamut from serious meetings about Islamic knowledge to lighter social gatherings. “We really like to mix it up so it’s not too much of one thing,” Hafsa Abdi, Public Relations Officer for the MSA, told the Echo. 

Every Friday, the MSA hosts a prayer and sermon from 12:30-1:00 p.m. at the Foss Chapel, which both Muslim students and non-Muslim observers are welcome to attend. One of the goals of the MSA is to find a designated prayer space. Despite being one of the largest and most active religious communities on campus, the MSA has yet to find a designated home for their prayer meetings where Christian symbols are not omnipresent.

Recently, some delegates from the MSA went to Chicago to attend MAS-ICNA, a convention that hosts the largest Muslim gathering in North America. At the convention, they had a chance to meet with members of other Muslim Student Organizations and found that Augsburg had more than double the delegates than many other schools. 

To Anzal Sahal, the MSA Co-Event Planner, this experience was more than just a fun trip. “I think it was a really eye-opening experience for a lot of people because those seminars and lectures they were really targeted towards college students and I feel like people thought they were coming there, ‘Oh, it’s just going to be very lighthearted and we’re just going to see Chicago,’ but so many people at the end of the trip… changed the way they were and the way they acted after that trip, which was really cool to see,” they told the Echo.

Every two weeks, the MSA hosts a speaker, usually a leader in the Islamic community who comes and talks about Islamic knowledge, how to balance religion and school, how to be closer to God, how to serve in the community, and other topics of interest for Muslims. Talks are held every Thursday from 6:00-8:00p.m. in Hagfors 150A. You can stay up to date with the MSA by following them on Instagram @AugsburgMSA, where they post event information. 

The MSA would also like to express their support for all students participating in Ramadan, and invite them to reach out if they are struggling to find something to eat.